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What to Expect from Joey Gallo

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Projecting the 2016 for the new slugger of the Texas Rangers

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Gallo has been called up to play 1B for the Rangers and you should be very excited. Gallo is a bit of an enigma due to the perceived risk that he will flame out due to his contact issues. There's a lot to be said for that because he does struggle with contact and sometimes he looks horrible at the plate. That being said he has massive potential and with a .939 OPS in AAA it seems he's ready to give it a shot now. In the future he could perceivably put up numbers around .255/.350/.555 with 40 dingers and a whole lot of walks and hard contact. Let's talk about now though; what is the report on what he will be doing for the remainder of the 2016 season.

The Projection

At first look it's easy to see why scouts love Joey Gallo; he has a good load and hip coil with minimal hand movement, an athletic and loose stance and swing, plus-plus bat speed, the fantastic approach, and separation to go along with the big time strength to generate the 80 grade raw power. There are also some flags though; the swing can be a little long, there is a good amount of head movement during the swing, and the high leg kick can sometimes cause get out of whack, leading to stretches where he has trouble catching up on heat. The good thing is a lot of the issues with his swing are fixable to an extent, but the swing and miss will likely always be there.

With those things in mind we can make an educated guess on a Gallo slash line. Gallo is sporting a 30% K rate in AAA right now and I would expect that to go up 5-7% with extended playing time in the MLB. Gallo should keep an elevated BABIP over time due to the fact that he hits the ball very hard. In his brief time up in 2015, he had a 49% hard hit rate, which would be tied with Stanton this season. Accounting for those things and better opposing defense, a .215-.230 batting average seems most likely. Thankfully with the new age in statistics we can appreciate how little that means. Gallo's 17.7% BB rate probably won't completely transfer to the MLB, but an 11%BB rate seems perfectly reasonable so the OBP could hover around .320. Gallo's average ISO for his minor league career is around .330 and is at .311 in AAA this season. Thus a solid guess at a slash line for Gallo in 2016 is .220/.315/.490.

On defense Gallo is improving consistently at 3B, where he is projected to be an average defender. His defense should play up at 1B and he's been getting quite a bit of work in at Round Rock. Gallo and his 70 grade arm will likely be just fine there and may even be an above average defender with time.

Final Thoughts

The start of the Gallo era in Texas could be one of the most polarizing and interesting times we've experienced in a long while. Even if Gallo immediately sees success, he will be undervalued by a large portion of the fan base due to the style of his game. There is of course always a chance with a prospect like Gallo that the swing and miss is too big of an issue to overcome immediately, but Gallo is going to give everything he has to be a productive player. If you ask Gallo, an MVP and a world series are within grasp for him and who knows; maybe he's right.